- The Washington Times - Friday, November 21, 2014

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, announced Friday he has introduced legislation that would entitle members of the military fighting the spread of Ebola in Africa to the same tax benefits they would get if they were deployed to a combat zone.

“The morbidity rate of Ebola poses a substantial danger to those who have been sent to combat it and, for the first time, this risk extends beyond the battlefield and directly threatens the safety of their families,” Mr. Cruz said in a statement.

“Congress should give these service members the appropriate recognition and respect for their service in times of grave danger,” he said. “The risks posed to our armed forces conducting their assigned mission in Africa warrants this consideration.”

The Operation United Assistance Tax Exclusion Act would apply to service members required to undergo a 21-day quarantine upon their return.

As of Nov. 12, the Defense Department had spent nearly $200 million on the “Operation United Assistance” mission, which calls for the deployment of up to 4,000 members of the military to West Africa to assist in efforts to combat the virus.

The World Health Organization on Friday declared the Democratic Republic of Congo free of the virus. There have been more than 5,400 reported deaths in the latest outbreak, according to the WHO, the majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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